Diagram Tips and Tricks


This summarises some little known tips and tricks with Diagrams. Remember that with a Diagram open pressing the F1 key, or clicking the Help button in sub-windows, gives detailed advice. Also work through the tutorials on Diagrams in the Family Historian Documentation.

Note Options settings for all Diagrams are shared by all Project via the Family Historian Program Data Folder.

Zoom In & Out

Instead of clicking on the + Zoom In and - Zoom Out buttons, you can use the keyboard number pad + and - keys, or Ctrl+L and Ctrl+K, or hold the Ctrl key whilst rolling the mouse wheel.

See Help > Search Help > Keyboard Shortcuts > List Topics for other shortcuts.

Text Boxes

These can display much more than just plain text. Use Diagram > Insert into Diagram > Text Box, draw the box, and check the Help on each tab. The Text tab supports Expressions comprising Data Refs and Functions to create complex context dependent text. The Data tab can condition the context for %INDI% on the Text tab.

The February 2016 Forum posting Customising diagram end of branch siblings gives an example.

If no text is shown by a Text Box then drag its handles to make it bigger!

Blank Diagram

Use View > Standard Diagram Types > Blank Diagram, then Diagram > Insert into Diagram > Text Box &/or Picture offers many of the basic features of a word-processor for composing free format pages for a Book as explained in Book Free Page Content.

All Relatives Diagram

Despite its name, this does NOT always display all relatives of the root person. It only displays all blood relatives and their immediate spouses. That includes all direct ancestors, and direct descendants of those ancestors, such as cousins of the root person.

However, considering the spouses of blood relatives, the parents, siblings, or other spouses of those spouses are not included, even though they are members of the same family Pool.

There is Wish List Ref 501 Entire Pool Diagram that you can vote for.

Abnormal Page Sizes

Sometimes when Show Page Boundaries is enabled, the boundary lines are far too close together, and when using Diagram Save As > PDF File the output will not fit onto One Page.

That is often fixed by ensuring File > Print Setup names the Family Historian PDF driver instead of the physical external printer.

Also check the Diagram > Options > Print tab settings.

Black and White Output

If saved or printed Diagrams have unexpected black-and-white or coloured parts then review these settings:

  • Diagram > Copy Diagram > Text and Lines in Black-and-White
  • Diagram > Save Diagram As > {any format} > Text and Lines in Black-and-White
  • Diagram > Options > Print > Print text, lines and boxes in black-and-white only

Only the Box Fill and Text Colour of Individual boxes are actually rendered in black-and-white.

All Box Line and Box Shadow colours, all Inserted Text Box/Shape/Line colours, and any Diagram Background are always coloured.

Enhanced/Placeable Metafile

These file types are associated with the following commands:

  • Diagram > Copy Diagram > Enhanced Metafile
  • Diagram > Save Diagram As > Enhanced Metafile (.emf)
  • Diagram > Save Diagram As > Placeable Metafile (.wmf)

When an Enhanced/Placeable Metafile is pasted or inserted into a Word document it is OK, but for other products such as OpenOffice Writer or LibreOffice Writer some features may be grey or completely blank. This affects boxes with Box Shape set to Rectangle or Rounded Corners and .wmf files.

A workaround for Box Shape: Rectangle is Bevelled Corners with Corner Size: 0".

If the .emf or .wmf file is opened in IrfanView and saved without change as an Enhanced Metafile (.emf) then that file inserts into those other products OK.